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Eskom contributes lion's share to irregular expenditure at SOEs

Members of Parliament say while they are not surprised, the composite financial state of parastatals is still shocking to them.

FILE: Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe briefs the media on the power utility's financial standings. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Irregular expenditure at state-owned entities (SOEs) that have been able to produce audited financial statements has increased by more than a 100% to almost R28 billion over the past year.

On Wednesday, the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprise was probing the audit outcomes, but only three out of the seven companies it oversees have been able to table annual reports.

Last month Minister Pravin Gordhan advised Parliament that Denel, SA Express, SAA and South African Forestry Companies Limited (Safcol) would not meet the deadline.

Members of Parliament (MPs) say while they are not surprised, the composite financial state of parastatals is still shocking to them.

Eskom has contributed the lion's share to the total irregular expenditure at parastatals.

While Transnet has turned a profit, concerns have been raised about its ability to repay loans if funders recall them.

The Auditor-General (AG)'s office says it can’t be certain of the true extent of the irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure across the entities because of poor internal controls.

The AG’s Chawulani Ndimande says: “We also cannot obtain evidence that disciplinary actions were actually taken against officials who contributed to these irregular expenditures.”

Denel, SAA and SA Express have not been able to submit financial statements for auditing because their going concern status is in doubt.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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